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5.7.14

Philosophy at its best is vertical.


Philosophy at its best is vertical.
To explain what this means let me give an example. Take the Pre Socratics. The whole progression of thought from Parmenides until Plato was one long answer to the question of Parmenides, "How is change possible?"

In this case people today have had to look at the vertical progression of ideas and not concentrate overly much on any one particular philosopher. But in academic philosophy today even at its best almost has to take one particular philosopher and concentrate on him or at best on the small range of commentaries on him.

Sometimes this results in high quality work. You can find courses and books in Israel on Aristotle or Nietzsche or books devoted to Hegel which are of great quality.

But what is lacking here is the vertical chain of ideas.

To understand philosophy today you have to start with Spinoza and Leibniz and not learn them alone but also Locke and Hume. Only then can you get a good grasp on the debate between them and then you can see how Kant answers this debate in a very elegant way. But then to understand Kant you have several branches and side paths that lead nowhere. You need a strong sense of direction and also a highly developed analytical sense to be able to tell when post Kant thinkers doing their normal thing of circular logic.
You need to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff also as in Frege.

It also is helpful to know Math and Physics in order to see when people talking in pseudo Physics terms to sound profound but in fact have no idea what they are talking about.
In fact you could say the major problem in philosophy today is that they suffer from physics envy.
  
The problem with Linguistic Analytic Philosophy or Post modernism is that once one has touched it he  can never regain his sanity ever again.


What Kelly Ross is good at is the big picture or the vertical line of thought . Also he felt under no pressure to get a job fast but took his time to digest what people were saying. So he could pinpoint the fallacious in Hume and later thinkers even while making note of their valid ideas.

So what comes out is that we get  a train of thought that starts with the argument between the empirical school and the rationalists until Kant. Then we see Kant's answer to this debate.
But we also see that his solution was a bit too much ad hoc. So we come to Hegel that Reason by some process gets into the dinge an sich